What's Particularly Scary about a Blanket Octopus?

One of the more frightening and highly venomous creatures in our oceans is undoubtedly the Portuguese man o' war. It packs a painful sting that can turn into a serious envenomation. The Portuguese man o' war's tentacles contain stinging cells that need only to brush against another animal to deliver a sting. The male blanket octopus, however, seems to be immune to this organism's venom. In fact, a blanket octopus can rip the stingers from the Portuguese man o' war in order to use those stingers to fend off enemies.

The blanket octopus slowly swings the stinging tentacle in the undesirable individual's direction. And since the stingers still work very well, even after being detached from their host creature, if the bothersome animal doesn't cease and desist, it may be in for a painful and possibly deadly sting. One does what one must in order to survive, and the blanket octopus takes survival very seriously.

Facts about the blanket octopus:

  • Female blanket octopuses are much larger than males. The males are not quite an inch long (2.4 cm), while the females come in at over six feet (2 meters) in length. Both can wield the Portuguese man o' war stingers, but they are the males' primary defense.

  • The blanket octopus lives in tropical and subtropical oceans.

  • The female blanket octopus can regenerate her tentacles and will break off her arms in an enemy's mouth in order to escape.

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More Info: Scientific American

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